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John’s Horror Corner: Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991)

March 20, 2013

MY CALL:  With the highest production value of the series so far, Toulon’s Revenge avenges Puppet Master II‘s terrible misstep.  Part two left me dreading Toulon’s Revenge.  But now I can’t wait for part four!   IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCHPuppet Master (1989).  SEQUEL SIDEBAR:  This movie is actually a prequel to Puppet Master (1989), which is seamlessly followed by Puppet Master II (1991), although there is a considerable drop in quality.

Set in 1941 Berlin, part III graces viewers with Toulon’s history which was referenced in Puppet Master and Puppet Master II.  Nazi Major Krauss (Richard Lynch; Halloween, Necronomicon, Trancers II) has charged Dr. Hess (Ian Abercrombie; Jack Frost II, Army of Darkness) with animating dead soldiers to utilize in the Furor’s war.  They discover that puppeteer Andre Toulon has mastered such secrets and intend to steal it!
The Furor…
…wants this.

In this third installment of the franchise, Andre Toulon is played by a third actor (Guy Rolfe; Puppet Master IV, V and Retro Puppet Master; Dolls, The Bride).  But have no fear.  This prequel has returned to its fans the more kind-hearted Toulon without the intolerable accent of Puppet Master II‘s zombie Toulon.  When Toulon’s wife Elsa (Sarah Douglas; Return of the Living Dead 3, Conan the Destroyer, Strippers vs Werewolves) is killed during a Nazi altercation, Toulon and his puppets are left with a hole in their hearts that can only be filled with bleeding, screaming Nazi death.

This is the best-acted of the franchise s far, but still much is left to be desired if you came expecting Oscar-worthy line delivery.  It’s certainly good enough.  Making up for this shortcoming are the glorious stop-motion puppets.

The puppets include Pinhead and is man hands (as in a stop-motion puppet with live-action human hands), the drill-headed Tunneler, Jester and cowboy Six-Shooter (new as of this movie).  Desperate and bereft of his love Elsa, Toulon goes all Bride of Frankenstein and uses her life essence to create a puppet which he fills with bloated leeches (fan favorite Leech Woman) to exact their revenge.  Toulon also crafts Blade (of the first two movies).

As usual, the puppets get their moments to shine.  However, I felt that Pinhead drew the most fanfare. He was responsible for a knee-capping, a brick to the face, some impaling hooks and a wire-strangling.  Cheesy, but good stuff.  Six-shooter also had some solid moments.
In the words of Borat: “Great success!”

But the most interesting revelation of the puppets in this movie is what–or who–truly gives them life.  Toulon has a special connection to all of them, just as he did in life.

CHEAP B-HORROR FARE:  For anyone who cares, this movie (like the first two of the series) is of ample bosom.  Neither this nor part one really needed the crutch of gratuitous nudity, but I guess it just felt too classy to omit on the producers’ part.  The gore is also enjoyable.  Overall, this felt like the highest production quality Puppet Master movie so far.

Fans of part one shouldn’t dare miss this!


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